Starting at 8 pm EST tonight…check in early and often!
7:45 pm: Welcome all to my annual live blogging of the Video Music Awards. And, as per usual, here’s my up front disclaimer: I don’t pretend to have invented the concept of these live blogs, as I first got the idea from Bill Simmons, aka The Sports Guy, over at ESPN. Just stating this up front as a few people during my first year spent copious amounts of time calling me names that rhyme with “druthermucker” and “mocksticker” for daring to pay homage to the Mr. Simmons.
Things will kick off officially at 8 pm, when MTV lets John Norris out of his cryogenic chamber to interview celebrities who try to hide their abject fear of him, Sway continues his battle with the English language, and I try to pretend like I can tell the Jonas Brothers apart. Should be a fun time for all.
8:00 pm: I just watched the last five minutes of The Hills, which is coincidentally the first five minutes of the show I’ve ever watched. I’m unclear what I just watched. I have the vague sense it was in English, but none of the words or actions made a lick of sense.
8:01 pm: And now we’ve gone from The Hills to a live interview of Lauren Conrad on the red carpet, which isn’t so much art imitating life as a train wreck imitating double homicide.
8:01 pm: Sway’s in a helicopter, introducing the show properly. I’m looking past him to see if Niko Bellic from Grand Theft Auto IV has some rocket launchers aimed his way.
8:02 pm: Tim Kash is “holding it down on the ground.” I think gravity begs to differ.
8:02 pm: Tim’s telling us this year is all about history, this being the 25th anniversary of the show and all. And what better way to honor the diverse musical history displayed over the years than…by having a dance off from two crews from America’s Best Dance Crew. I’d make a Solid Gold joke here, but honestly, how many people watching this at home remember Solid Gold?
8:03 pm: Having displeased the gods with my joke about killing Sway, they send Lauren Conrad back on the air to talk with Tim about what she does to avoid “you know who.” Weirdly enough, “You Know Who” was JK Rowling’s original description of Lord Voldemort, but changed it in later drafts.
8:05 pm: I hate on Sway, but you have to feel bad for him. Essentially, what MTV is telling us that every artist coming tonight has filed a restraining order against him.
8:06 pm: He’s currently doing a phone interview with Katy Perry via cellphone. Not that we can see Katy; only the top of her limo that says “Katy Perry” on the hood. So Katy thinks Sway is going to snipe her? What’s going on? Isn’t the whole point of this show face time? Is “hood time” the new “face time”? I feel old.
8:08 pm: The only band freakier looking than John Norris: Tokio Hotel! They are riding up on a custom monster truck. I’d make the customary “run John over” joke, but we all know at this point that John Norris will eventually change his last name to “Connor” and lead the revolution against SkyNet. The guy is indestructible, even if he is wearing a half-toupee that’s covering up his forehead.
8:13 pm: So what’s scarier: the site of Katy Perry standing next to Miley Cyrus, or the the Flavor Flav Circus? Oh, that’s not Flavor Flav, that’s T-Pain. That makes a lot more sense. OK, not really.
8:15 pm: I want to see the MTV fashion expert tell at least one artist tonight that they look like hell. However, I think that situation’s less likely that Matt Cassell leading the New England Patriots to the Super Bowl this year. Yes, I’m bitter. Yes, I’m drinking.
8:17 pm: It’s Dr. Callie! Oops, Jordin Sparks. My batting average isn’t so hot tonight
8:22 pm: WordPress is not letting me upload photos tonight, so if any of my readers has suggestions on how to make it play nice with my auto-uploading feature that isn’t so auto tonight, that would rock.
8:23 pm: “The dance battle is still to come,” Tim Kane tells me. Sounds more like a threat than a promise.
8:25 pm: I honestly didn’t think MTV would get dumber than “having all the cool acts play in tiny hotel rooms completely removed from the actual awards ceremony,” but “watching Sway interview the tops of limos” is making a strong case for me to reconsider.
8:27 pm: When I look at Katy Perry, the word “chafing” comes to mind. Let’s just leave it at that.
8:29 pm: From right to left: Michael Phelps, Kid Rock, and John Norris. This is a far cry from Antony, Octavius, and Lepidus, y’all. Hell, it’s a far cry from Moe, Larry, and Curly.
8:34 pm: The oft-threatened dance off has begun! The dance group Kaba Modern is redefining business casual by way of the “Legs and Eggs” buffet at Scores. Classy.
8:35 pm: Dance Group Fanny Pak is rocking some combination of a wedding and junior prom. Oh, this is in honor of Sarah Palin’s daughter, isn’t it? No politics in my VMAs, Fanny Pak!
8:37 pm: Tim asks Sway how the dance battle looked from up there. “LIKE A BUNCH OF ANTS DOUSED IN GLITTER! NOW LET MY ASS DOWN RIGHT NOW!” Sway replies.
8:43 pm: Christina Aguilera just told me she’s releasing a Greatest Hits CD spanning the first ten years of her career. Well, just fit me for some adult diapers, already. Thank God I’m not yet drunk, as that would have sobered me up quickly.
8:46 pm: Sway asking the top of Paris Hilton’s limo what a “BFF” stands for might be the low point in modern journalism. I need a bath.
8:47 pm: It’s sex on (tricycle) wheels: The Jonas Brothers!
8:48 pm: From The Jonas Brothers to Slipnot. I’ve got whiplash from that jarring transition. Youch.
8:52 pm: They’re trying to tell me that Ashlee Simpson’s preggers, but I think we all know she’s just trying to sneak her father in to the ceremonies.
8:58 pm: We started the hour with Lauren, and we’re ending it with Paris. Kinda poetic, in that “stuff written by a homeless guy in his urine on the sdewalk” sorta way. Onto the main show!
9:00 pm: Britney opens the show with…a pre-taped sketch with Jonah Hill. Not in the least surprising, and not in the least bit funny.
9:02 pm: We’re now live, and eight steps in, Britney hasn’t fallen down and died. So, marked improvement from last year so far.
9:03 pm: Damn, small crowd inside. I think the “Fashion Rocks” awards last week had a bigger crowd. Hell, my kegger last week had a bigger crowd.
9:04 pm: Pssst, Britney, lower the mic. I can’t see your mouth. Or your head. Or your abject fear.
9:05 pm: Live from a watered down Burning Man, it’s Rhianna! It’s “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome” meets Samuel Beckett’s “Happy Days” as she’s courted down the aisle.
9:07 pm: Remember all the controversy around the original VMAs, with Madonna writhing around in the dress? What would that crowd have done seeing this S&M-lite performance? Would Bette Midler’s head have exploded on live television?
9:09 pm: Russell Brand is going over as well as Dane Cook did a few years ago. Eventually MTV will realize that no one wants to laugh at anything on camera, especially in this day and age where anything and everything is caught on film and virally distributed for months to come. Celebrities just can’t risk being seen laughing at a joke that some group might find offensive, because there’s too much money to lose otherwise. Oh well.
9:15 pm: We’re 1/8th through the show, and seen one ditz not know how to hold a mic, one artist do a questionably out-there performance, and a host unable to relate to his audience. We’re on a roll, y’all.
9:17 pm: Jamie Foxx, apparently still allowed to be in public, is here to introduce the Best Female Video. This will be the first time I and most of America see these videos, thanks to Lauren Conrad’s hijacking of the network.
9:18 pm: Determined to give Britney as many chances to make a fool of herself as possible, the show gives her the award for Best Female. She gives a perfectly nice, perfectly short speech, sending Perez Hilton into hysterics in a nearby coffee shop.
9:19 pm: Attention Air Force: Pete Wentz, Heidi Montag, and Spencer Pratt are all in one location! Send in the air strike NOW!
9:26 pm: Demi Moore’s so dizzy from walking down a moving spiral staircase that she losing track of all time and space, leading her to start belting out the tune from “St. Elmo’s Fire.” OK, not really, but that would have been awesome.
9:27 pm: From David Bowie to Lil Wayne. Yup, that pretty much sums up the decline of popular music over the last quarter century.
9:28 pm: My friend Tink just IM’ed me: “Is it me, or does it look the Jonas Brothers are on the set of Sesame Street?” Not at all, as at the moment she wrote that, my wife started looking for Oscar the Grouch. Let me channel my inner Count…Three, Three Corporate Tools! Ah Ah Ah!
9:31 pm: Ack! It’s a stampede! Run, Jonas Brothers! Save yourselves!!!
9:32 pm: I’m looking at those kids dancing out the windows and hoping that we don’t see the first on-air VMA death.
9:39 pm: In typical MTV fashion, they went into a commercial before Katy Perry could finish “Like a Virgin,” and came lon after she started “I Kissed A Girl.” Because hearing an entire song start to finish is too much for our fragile, 21st century minds. Come on, guys, you gave the Jonas Brothers a whole song, and they’ve never kissed a girl.
9:41 pm: I know he won 8 gold medals and all, but I can’t help but get the feeling Michael Phelps and the Zombie Turtle kid are related.
9:43 pm: The biggest battle of the night: Lil Wayne and his small bladder. (OK, you tell me why he’s holding his crotch like that?)
9:45 pm: Another history lesson as gravity fights to pull Lil Wayne’s pants to his ankles: remember when each performance looked like it cost half a million to produce? This year has more of a community theatre feel. I can’t wait to see Christina Aguilera perform in front of some painted flats.
9:47 pm: Lindsey Lohan walks through the crowd with Ciara. What’s hysterical is how no one in the crowd seems to want to look directly at Lindsey, lest they turn to stone.
9:49 pm: Had I known there was a category for “Best Dancing in a Video,” I would have submitted my performance of “I’m Too Sexy” as backup dancer to my wife during a karaoke outing. The Pussycall Dolls ain’t got nuttin’ on my moves. Especially the “RyNo.”
9:51 pm: Back when I used to go to CCD, I swear I heard one of the nuns say that “Rock of Love: Charm School” would be one of the signs of the apocalypse. Looks like Sister Mary Margaret was right about something.
9:52 pm: The presidential candidate that vows to prevent Tonia and/or CJ from ever participating in another “Real World/Road Rules Challenge” gets my vote. That’s all I’m saying.
9:53 pm: It’s a bad sign when the host of the VMAs has to encourage the audience to “welcome more warmly” the cast of the film adapation of Twilight. Sadly, I think all the people who would have been enthused by their appearance are still in the back lot tearing the Jonas Brothers limb from limb.
9:55 pm: The band Paramore is what would happen if Garbage and Evanescence had a baby and then let it suckle on the Red Bull teat during its formative years.
9:59 pm: Love how MTV has a ticker before each commercial break letting the audience know what’s coming up. The influence of ESPN’s “Pardon the Interruption” is now complete.
10:02 pm: Well, at least the show’s over. Wait, it’s only half over? This would tear out my heart if Tom Brady’s injury hadn’t already done that today.
10:05 pm: Shia and Slash, together at last!
10:07 pm: Is it wrong to think that Jonas Brothers song actually rocked out harder than this Linkin Park song that won “Best Rock Video”?
10:11 pm: Russell Brand is shocked, positively SHOCKED, to find Miley Cyrus playing Rock Band under the stage. Didn’t Russell read the PTI banner? They said she was going to do this 10 minutes ago. MTV has it out for Russell, I tell ya.
10:13 pm: Let me be on record as saying this whole “back lot performance” stuff is dumber than dumb. If you have an awards show, have the damn performances at the awards. Otherwise there’s no point in actually getting people together in one place. But Pink’s making the best of it, and the stunt where she lowered herself down with one arm was pretty dope. And oooh, explosions! I like me those.
10:15 pm: “The Cast of High School Musical in 15 minutes!” Consider yourself duly warned.
10:17 pm: My crush on Ashlee Simpson is a point of shame, but there you have it. And yet I have to watch a moving version of “Hot Girls with Douchebags” on my 32” LCD. She’s just taunting me at this point.
10:18 pm: How long until McLovin and William Hung make an adult film called “Hung McLovin?”
10:20 pm: Should be a nice test of Lil Wayne’s street cred to see if he pisses himself while getting the award from Slipknot. Oooh, he summoned his posse to back him up. Not cool, Lil Wayne, not cool at all. Now leave the stage before you have to tinkle again.
10:27 pm: Tink’s noted that “jackets and no shirts” is the new look, according to the VMAs. Duly noted. Can’t wait to bust this out at work tomorrow.
10:29 pm: The world is waiting with baited breath: is the Numa Numa kid going to show up?
10:30 pm: Dang. Guess not.
10:37 pm: Hey, it’s Zac Efron, that girl with the naked pics, and um, the two people from “High School Musical” that aren’t those two, introducing Christina Aguilera.
10:38 pm: Know what this night needs? A remix of “Genie in a Bottle” set to Rockwell’s “Somebody’s Watching Me.”
10:39 pm: Hey, it’s like she read my mind!
10:40 pm: Remember what I said earlier about the performance budgets? I think Xtina stole all the cash and hid in her ginormous mommy breasts. So Paramore et al just had to make do. It’s the only logical explanation.
10:41 pm: Aww, I’ve missed the “Christina dances but somehow her feet never leave their planted position.” Feels like forever since I’ve seen that.
10:43 pm: Somewhere in the NBC News Studios, Chris Hanson just assigned his top producers to start tracking Russell Brand after his “piss off/piss on” comments. (Which were quite frankly hilarious, all the more because the Jonas Brothers looked so freakin’ annoyed right now.)
10:45 pm: In the only bit of historical continuity so far, Tokio Hotel, aka, the new Culture Club, just won “Best New Artist”.
10:51 pm: Well, Paris and Britney just touched, and the world didn’t end. Glad we settled that theoretical debate.
10:52 pm: Either Britney forgot she gave that same speech two hours ago, or she’s really, really on a short leash from management. You be the judge.
11:05 pm: I think I hit my head and traveled back in time to 1999, because I swore i just saw Kid Rock performing at the VMAs.
11:06 pm: Technical update: I’m manually putting pictures in now, thanks to WordPress’ continuing fight with my hosting service. I’m trying to patch things up between these two, but they are currently battling worse than Lil Wayne’s pants and gravity at this point.
11:11 pm: Hide your women: it’s Kobe!
11:13 pm: Best Video of the Year goes to Britney. OK, can we officially declare MTV behind Britney’s comeback at this point and call it a day? There’s a lot of money about to be made off tonight’s springboard.
11:16 pm: Kayne West takes an odd approach: performing an interesting song in a visually appealing manner. It’s got a “Stop Making Sense” meets “Riverdance” vibe, but with a Bejing Opening Ceremony twist. But it all works, least for me. My wife’s more meh about this, but it’s a breath of fresh air as far as I’m concerned. And I’m hardly a Kanye fan. (Oh crap, shouldn’t have written that, now he’s gonna come after me.)
11:18 pm: Worth noting that every great performance (except for Xtina) was staged outside, which calls into question why they hosted the actual event in the smallest venue they ever had. Mind boggling.
11:20 pm: Thanks for reading…leave your thoughts below!